Right up until ICE officers came for Paul Thomas, he was the definition of an upstanding community member. Paul immigrated to the U.S. from the United Kingdom in 1982 with his parents and brother. The rest of his family pursued citizenship, but Paul never got around to it. Still, he had his green card and went on to open his own sign business, Dreamland Signworks, right here in Georgia.
Paul makes signs for dozens of local businesses and even the police department, so he’s very rooted in his community. He’s friends with both the Mayor and the Sheriff. They stood by him through thick and thin, even when Paul entered a relationship with a woman who had substance abuse and alcohol problems. It pulled him into a dark place, and she made false allegations against him, claiming he had committed acts of violence. David Thomas, Paul’s father and close friend, was shocked to see Paul get arrested.
“Paul is a very loving son, and the case against him was just something that to me was unbelievable, because I knew his way of life. He’s so gentle with everybody and very courteous. I just couldn't believe the charges against him,” David told us.
David helped Paul hire a lawyer who was able to resolve the criminal case, but that lawyer wasn’t experienced in immigration law. They told Paul that they had fixed all of his problems, but because Paul wasn’t a citizen, their solution didn’t work. Still, Paul and David thought the ordeal was over and done until one day, an ICE officer knocked on Paul’s door and arrested him.
“When Paul took a plea deal, we both thought that would be the end of it, and I was really floored when I heard that he had been picked up by ICE for deportation,” David said.
Paul spent months in deportation custody. He couldn’t get out, even though his friends were in his corner and sent letters of support. In the end, his father’s love and dedication made the biggest difference. David wanted to do whatever he could to help his son. So, he started doing research from his home in Florida.
David put in hours of effort and time looking for an immigration lawyer who could help Paul. Finally, he called an attorney who told him that he didn’t need immigration help, he needed CrImmigration. They sent him to our team at STERN Law. Making that call and engaging our representation was the very best thing David could have done in that moment.
“From that moment on, it was really just plain sailing, because of [STERN Law’s] knowledge of immigration law,” David said. “... Both Jessica and Christina, the attorney in charge of Paul’s case, did an awesome job. I was amazed at their knowledge of the law and their reassurance that things were going to turn out okay. And of course, they did!”
Working closely with Paul and David, our team was able to fix part of the problematic sentence in the criminal case and then take Paul’s case to deportation trial to fight the allegations against him. Ultimately, we won! Paul will remain in the U.S. and keep his green card. Throughout it all, I was inspired by Paul and David’s relationship. David is an incredible father, and his dedication to fighting Paul’s case showed how powerful a parent’s love can be for their child - even into adulthood. It warmed my heart to see that commitment turn into a successful, happy outcome.
Paul is back to work at Dreamland Signworks, picking his life back up where he left off. He will soon attend his son’s wedding - an important event that he would have missed if not for the victory we achieved. Looking back on his case, I’m thrilled with the resolution we were able to secure for him, but I wish he and David had found our team sooner, when the allegations of violence were first leveled. If Paul had had the right lawyer from the start, ICE never would have come knocking on his door.
If you or someone you know is in a situation similar to Paul’s, our team can help. Call us today at 404-476-5820 to share your story.